My twenty-eighth year of life was one for the books, but not because of accomplishments or anything tangible. As a 28 year-old, I completed a doctorate degree, passed a national board exam, started a new business (in addition to one I had been running throughout graduate school), celebrated three years of marriage to an amazing guy, and traveled to new places for work and fun.
As a 28 year-old I also learned that my body is being fueled by high cortisol (the main stress hormone in our body), which helps me get a lot done but always leaves me feeling run-down and burned out.
As I reflect on this past year, my work, adventures, and achievements pale in comparison to everything I’ve learned. And even though I’m only 29 years young, I know these lessons will serve me for the next 29! I wanted to share them in hopes that they may bless your life as well.
1. Invest in yourself.
This seems really cliché, but if we are honest with ourselves we really don’t do it enough. Our time is our most valuable asset…we trade money for it daily! If we aren’t learning and growing, and investing in ourselves, we are doing our future selves a disservice. Read, listen to podcasts, or find a creative outlet…which brings me to my next point.
2. Respect yourself.
We all wish we had more hours in our day. The reality is, we will make time for what is valuable to us. So if we say that we can’t do something because we don’t have time, it really means we don’t want to make time for it because there are more important things we are prioritizing.
3. Busyness is the death of creativity & productivity.
Our word is full of distractions and “obligations,” and studies show that in boredom we reach for entertainment – whether it’s our iPhone, computer, or TV. We become less interested in critical thinking and solving complex problems, or even pursuing our dreams!
We also have the need to pack our schedules and “help others” to make ourselves feel worthy, important, or maybe to not appear lazy. Plus, it feels good to help! But at the end of the day, are we respecting our own time and getting things done that we wanted to?
4. Without our health, we don’t have anything.
This could be #1 on my list, and not just because I’m a healthcare professional. We don’t realize how important our health is until it’s taken away from us. Debilitating injuries, chronic illness, accidents, etc. can take away our livelihood in an instant. Value and invest in your health above everything and it will return the investment to you! This includes physical, emotional, mental…really all areas of health!
5. You are the average of your closest community.
Who we surround ourselves with is extremely important. FACT: Input = output. If we are surrounded by negativity, complaining, gossip, and small minds, that is what we absorb. When we are surrounded by positive, encouraging, gracious, inspiring, and large minded people, we will absorb and emit GOOD energy!
6. Put down the electronics and get outside!
We need Vitamin D to survive and thrive, especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest! The sun is something we don’t get enough of, and influences our health and mood. So does exercise. No matter how “busy” you are, get outside and go for a walk.
7. When social media is beneficial…
Social media is a blessing and a curse. It can be great for building a business or watching funny videos when you’re going to the bathroom (you know who you are!), but studies are showing it is making us depressed as a country. We get caught up in comparison, disconnection, and keeping up with the Joneses. We need to follow accounts that bring us up or add valuable content to our day!
8. Stop consuming and start contributing
It is so easy to want to be constantly fed in American culture, both literally and figuratively! HA. We consume all day, everyday. Media, products, entertainment, etc. and want our needs constantly met (and get annoyed when they aren’t!). It takes a lot of energy to run around and consume.
We ALL have something we can contribute to the world. Use your gifts, time, and energy, and get creative! And give your time in a way that’s meaningful and true to you.
9. It’s all about the little things.
Not everything in life has to be grand, perfect, or polished. It’s the little things that we remember at the end of the day. Write a friend a card, FaceTime with your mom, and connect over coffee with meaningful conversation.
10. Aging should be celebrated!
Another year of life? YES PLEASE! You are only as old as you feel. Take care of yourself, you are the best investment you could make!